Celebrate football season without the post-game guilt.

Fall is in the air! This is my favorite time of year. From multiple holidays to kicking off football season, fall is a special time that people come together and…eat. Eating has always been a major part of our social experience and is often at the center of many memories we’ve created with family and friends.

Traditional Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations include loved ones gathered together around the dinner table. Catching up with an old friend often takes place over lunch. Even the traditional tailgating before sporting events would not be nearly as inviting without the food that accompanies it. The holidays can be draining on your self-control, and if you’re anything like me, they’re always accompanied by overindulgence.

So let’s say “No!” to the guilt-ridden feelings and unhealthy effects of fried food and “Yes!” to healthy snacks and celebrating this fall season with the ones we love. Here are eight nutritious treats to satisfy your tailgate cravings and help you enjoy game day.

1. Turkey Burgers
Using minced turkey, prepare a burger with a whole wheat bun. White meat is a leaner source of protein, and you can add spices and spinach. For less carbs, you can replace the bun with lettuce for a protein-filled lettuce wrap. Vegetarian? Try this tasty concoction, courtesy of Whole Foods.

2. Sweet Potato Fries
This is an easy fix for fries. Packed with vitamin A, sweet potatoes are beneficial for blood sugar regulation and contain anti-inflammatory properties. They can also help decrease asthma symptoms, courtesy of the beta carotene content. Click here to get an original iFit recipe for this tailgate winner.

3. Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”
This zesty appetizer is immensely healthy, without sacrificing the kickstart flavor that accompanies regular wings. Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, which boosts your heart’s health, lowers blood pressure, and helps the digestive process. It’s also packed with antioxidants and is a superb source of brainfood. You’ll receive the same tastebud satisfaction without the enlarged waistband, so everyone wins!

4. Chips and Salsa
Simple, spicy, and savory. Just mix together some bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and jalapeño juice, and you’ve got a salsa going. Bell peppers promote weight loss by boosting metabolism, while jalapeños assist healthy blood flow. Both are excellent sources of vitamin C. As for tortilla chips, I suggest the all-natural sweet potato tortilla chips from Food Should Taste Good. Feel like something more adventurous? Try this mango salsa recipe from our friends at Whole Foods.

5. 5-Layer Dip
A major way to transform this dish into a healthier option is to substitute natural, plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream. It tastes the same, but it’s much less fattening. It also contains more potassium and less sodium than regular yogurt and is helpful with the digestive process. Avocados, when eating in moderation, contain healthy fats, so adding a layer of homemade guacamole is a great idea. Next, replace your layer of refried beans with black beans. They’re a rich source of protein, fiber, antioxidants and are lower in fat.

6. Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip
This is another snack where Greek yogurt comes in handy. Mix some all-natural, plain Greek yogurt with agave nectar (or honey) and a few tablespoons of almond butter for this divine tongue-tingler. Bananas, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are all perfect for this dip. An interesting fact: thin-skinned fruit, like berries, are more helpful for losing weight than thick-skinned fruits, such as bananas.

7. Fruit-infused Water
There’s no real substitute for soda or alcoholic beverages. What I can give you is a healthy alternative. This way, you get the hydration you need on a hot day and a splash of flavor without drinking your calories. Combinations of limes, lemons, and oranges blend nicely together for a refreshing citrus beverage. Lemons are especially helpful since they enhance enzyme function, which flushes out toxins in your body. They also reduce inflammation and help curb hunger from their pectin fiber.

8. BBQ Turkey Meatballs
Ground turkey + italian seasoning + BBQ sauce… done! That really is how easy this dish is. There are plenty of recipes, some of which include whole wheat bread crumbs… YUM. The choice is yours. Ground turkey, also used for turkey burgers, is healthier than red meat for barbecue meatballs. Annie’s Organic BBQ Sauce is an excellent option to add healthier flavor than your typical high-calorie condiments.

Now that you’re aware of how easy it is to transform fatty foods to viable options, you’re ready to take the reins and create some originals of your own.

Let’s get started!

Kayleigh Jardine